5 Tips to Get a Fresh Start With Ulcerative Colitis

by Shawntel Bethea Patient Advocate

Do you feel like you’re in a rut when it comes to managing your ulcerative colitis (UC)? Maybe you’re not happy with your treatment plan, or you feel like you don’t have a strong support system. Whatever is feeling less than stellar in your UC life, know you’re not alone — we could all use a fresh start every now and then. With all of the appointments, medications, and not to mention the symptoms of our condition, it’s not hard to believe one would become a little overwhelmed by it all.

There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to treating ulcerative colitis, so of course there’s no one right way to manage the condition either. It’s a daily battle that many of us face, but here are a few tips to help you along and give you a fresh start in your journey with UC.

1. Ditch your UC guilt

A fresh start requires a fresh mentality. Stop feeling guilty about living with a condition you never asked for. Yes, we may need to cancel plans at times. Yes, we may require a little extra care. Does this make us any less human? No. Remove the guilt from your life and accept that you’re deserving of love and understanding.

2. Do your research

You don’t have to rely solely on your doctor to learn more about how UC impacts your body or what new treatments are available. While you should always consult a health care professional before starting a new treatment or therapy, learning about your condition is free and actually pretty easy to do. You can learn more about UC here on HealthCentral, or use resources like those from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation to find online and in-person events and support groups.

3. Get a second opinion

A huge part of being an advocate in your own health care is understanding your options. We are patients, but we are also human and deserve to be comfortable with the doctor we choose. If you are not comfortable with your health care provider’s recommendations, or you would like to explore other options, it’s OK to do so. Here are our tips on how to find a great UC specialist.

4. Be vocal about your needs

If there is something you need from a caregiver or loved one, make it known. People need to know how you are feeling and what you need in order to be involved in your care. It’s OK to do a little extra explaining if they don’t quite get it on their own. Remember, people won’t know what you don’t share with them. Your friends and family want to help.

5. Get creative

There are times when our condition gets the best of us. With an autoimmune disease as unpredictable as UC, there may come a time when you’re unable to do what you want in exactly the way you want to. Don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, get creative! See if there is an alternative. Maybe you want to finish your degree, but you will no longer be able to attend class in person — try online, or reach out to your school to see if they can help you figure out a flexible schedule. Don’t let your condition stop you from dreaming. If you find your health coming between you and your goals, think outside of the box and ry a different way of achieving them!

Remember: It’s normal to get overwhelmed and feel like you need a fresh start with managing your condition. Taking these steps can help you get moving in a direction that feels good and gets you the care and support you need.

Have other great UC tips not mentioned here? Share them with us on Twitter @healthcentral.

Shawntel Bethea
Meet Our Writer
Shawntel Bethea

Shawntel Bethea, also known as Shawn, is a health and lifestyle blogger and freelancer. Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis during her senior year of high school, Shawn now uses her story of strength to raise awareness, show there is life beyond a diagnosis, and empower others living with chronic illness to become partners in their own healthcare. Through her blog, Chronically Strong, Shawn gives an unfiltered view of what living with an autoimmune disease is truly like, sharing the trials and triumphs. When she’s not working, Shawn enjoys traveling and eating vegetarian pizza rolls! You can connect with Shawntel on: Instagram and Twitter @shawnbethea_, YouTube, and Facebook @chronicallystrongblog.